The Business Stack, 2016 Edition

by Brian Doll on December 19, 2016

Launching Reify — our go-to-market consulting company — last week was an incredible experience. Michael and I had an idea how we wanted to package our services, how we’d work together, and how we’d work with clients. The act of actually building a business, though, is a slurry of legal stuff, financial stuff, and of course, a ton of software.

I’ve always loved learning what stacks various systems use, so I thought I’d put together a complete list of the Business Stack for Reify as of today.

The basics

  • Domain Name: Namecheap is fine

  • DNS: DNSimple because Anthony is awesome

  • Email, Calendar, Docs, etc.: G Suite: For $10/mo/user you get all the essentials.

Here are some tips related to the G Suite:

  • For functional email addresses like hello@, sales@, billing@, you need to create Groups and allow the public to post to them:

  • Log into the Admin console and click “More Controls” to reveal the Groups app.

  • Create the group, keep it set to “Public” and and add yourselves

  • Set the Post permission to “Public” so anyone can send emails to this group, like 👈🏼

  • Google Drive and Docs are pretty great. Set up a top-level folder with your company name and share it with your partners. This way every doc you create is available to everyone and you don’t need to share individual files.

  • Folder names can contain emoji, so spice those things up. Unfortunately they mess up alphabetical sorting but its worth it.

  • Blog: Medium: Create a Publication on Medium for your company blog. Each of you can be contributors to the publication so you get your bylines, it’s easy for people to subscribe, you can send Letters, and it looks gorgeous online an on mobile. Setting up Medium to use a custom domain isn’t difficult, but will require a bunch of support tickets and waiting a few days, but we’re happy to have this blog at https://blog.reifyworks.com. You can also get Google Analytics on your Publication to help enhance the stats you get from Medium.

  • Chat: Slack: You’re gonna be in a lot of Slacks. Create one for your company, create some functional rooms, rooms for clients, however you wanna roll, just do it. Guest accounts are great for collaborating with contractors too.

  • Website hosting: Netlify is amazing. Its trivial to set up auto-deploy from your master branch on GitHub, and they take care of everything else. Insanely fast global CDN, great caching, root domain redirects, free SSL certs from letsencrypt.org, enforcing SSL, and way more. Check it out.

  • Analytics: Google Analytics

  • Code: GitHub for our website repo and for collaborating with clients on their products.

Um, what about the actual Company part, though?

It turns out just because you have a website and a twitter handle, you don’t actually have a company. Weird, right? You’re gonna need this stuff too:

  • Lawyer: (By Request) We have a fantastic lawyer who focuses on creative service type businesses who has seen it all. You need a whole bunch of stuff, like Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement, Restricted Unit Purchase Agreement, MSA, SOW, Mutual NDA, Consulting Agreement Form, etc. If you need a referral, let us know.

  • Taxes: (By Request) We also have a fantastic person who manages the insane details around taxes. Don’t do this yourself — it’s more confusing than the legal stuff, honestly. If you need a referral, let us know.

  • Banking: Wells Fargo Yeah, I know. Wells happens to be one of the only banks with branches near where we both live, though. Service at branches has not been great so far, so this is definitely not a hearty recommendation.

  • Accounting: Xero is a modern Quickbooks. We use it for basic accounting, managing payroll, and sending invoices. You can give your tax person access too, so they can keep you straight during the year.

  • ACH Payments: Bill.com — Xero doesn’t accept payments out of the box. They have a ton of integrations that support Credit Cards, Paypal, and ACH payments, though. It’s been a year since Stripe introduced support for ACH payments, but unfortunately the official Xero integration for Stripe does not yet support it so we chose Bill.com. Update: Bill.com is awful

  • CRM: Close.io — Yeah, I said CRM, that’s right. A huge part of running your company is talking to prospects, working through the proposal and contract phase, doing the work, and getting paid. Close.io keeps you on top of your game and in the know. Have everyone hook it up to GMail and every email you send to a client is automatically accessible to your partners. You can set it up to remind you to follow up if you don’t get a response to a particular email, add account reminders (we use this feature a ton), notes, company contacts, etc. They have a desktop app which we always have open. Nothing makes me feel more like Businessing than Close.io. (Update: We now use Pipedrive)

  • Faxing: FAX app for iOS — It’s beyond infuriating that fax machines still exist, but this app is awesome.

Hit us up in the comments if you have any questions or if I’ve forgotten something. And if you’re in the business of selling software and you’d like to sell more of it, we’d love to help.



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